There’s been some griping among Catholics and anti-monarchy types about the April 29 British wedding of Prince William to Catherine “Kate” Middleton stealing the thunder of Pope John Paul II’s beatification on May 1. It’s like Princess Diana vs. Mother Teresa, Part II: Blessings Be Upon Us.
But as I pointed out over at GetReligion, the royal wedding date was announced in November; the Vatican announced the beatification date in January. So, it’s the Vatican’s mistake — and one that could easily have been avoided, if there weren’t such a (controversial, given the abuse scandal) rush to sainthood.
I may be a religion reporter, but I don’t have a problem with the general public and mainstream media showing more interested in a royal wedding of the heir to the throne (and the Church of England’s future “Supreme Governor” and “Defender of the Faith,” if that makes you feel less guilty) than a beatification — a term considerably less well known than canonization — of the previous head of the Catholic Church, despite his wider popularity. If it were his canonization, versus a different royal wedding, maybe the tables would be turned. And, maybe it’s also a generational thing.
In any case, John Paul’s beatification will get plenty of print and broadcast coverage, if the lead-up is any indication, even if the royal wedding gets more magazine covers. Here’s a sample of recent faith-related stories, from the mainstream media:
- Sainthood explained: Understanding Pope John Paul II’s beatification (CNN)
- Pope John Paul II step away from sainthood (Chicago Tribune’s Seeker blog)
- Hold the Halo (Maureen Dowd, for The New York Times)
- Pope John Paul II’s blood to be shown at beatification (CNN Belief Blog)
- Miracles claimed from late pope’s intercession (Religion News Service)
P.S. Speaking of religious vs. mainstream news this weekend, we also have Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ much-awaited April 29 appearance at the final shuttle launch, captained by her husband Mark Kelly. (As GetReligion noted, this would be a good time for some bad news to break, quietly!)
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.